Let Me Introduce Myself!
My name’s Isaac, I’m a 22 year old Singer-Songwriter and Musician and on July 1st I self released music for the very first time.
My previous releases before that had been through a label, so everything to do with distribution and getting the music onto streaming platforms was done for me… hey, that was bloody great! But I found myself not in that position for this latest release, and I thought it would be great to take you through my experience and share what I learnt so that you can avoid making the same mistakes.
As a disclaimer I used the distributor ‘Songtradr’ so I will be going into detail about them as a distributor, and the steps I took with them – a lot differs between distributors with what they offer.
How much does it cost?
First things first I signed up to Songtradr – it’s $39.99 for the year. Now here’s where the first difference comes, some distributors waiver a sign up fee and opt for taking a % of your earnings. I’ve learnt since, that % is a more beneficial set up for you as the artist, as they’re going to work the track more as its in their financial interest. However Songtradr do have some promising looking sync (music for TV, Games & Movies) opportunities included in that fee, which was the first we’d heard of this with a distributor.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll need a song…Duh!
Make sure you have the mastered file of the song and all the relevant informational to hand when submitting the song – use the process of registering a song with a distributor as your checklist for what you will need. I never knew what an ISRC code was (don’t worry about that just yet) until I started this process, but it was an easy way to learn exactly what information I needed to register.
Uploading Your Music To SongTradr
You’ll then need to add all the meta data for the song. What the genre? Who wrote the song? Who’s got control of the master? All that good stuff!
Also without getting too technical, Songtradr provide you with an ‘ISRC Code’ (it’s back again… but this is why I said don’t worry, because SongTradr do this for you… it would be worth a google though so you know!). This code essentially allows your song to be tracked across the world whenever it gets played, and a big computer stores all the data so you know how many plays you are getting, and then you get paid!
As another side note remember this IS NOT registering the track for songwriting royalties (money for your music when it gets played). In the UK you’ll need to do that with PRS which is a company that collect what you are owed and pays you. Your distributor should however collect your streaming royalties. All of these figures and complicated things are available to see on the Songtradr dashboard/home page when you have an account.
After all the information has been entered and artwork uploaded, it’s time to choose a date for your release. This is so much more important than you might realise!
As a rule of thumb leave 4 weeks between completing the submission of the track to your distributor to the date you want the track to be out. This is because it will leave enough time to pitch your track to Spotify playlist. How on earth do I do that you ask? Good. bloody. question. You’ll need access to your Spotify for artist page- the guys over a Burstimo explain it perfectly right here- https://burstimo.com/spotify-playlists-guide/ – top little bonus tip there for you!
That’s kinda it, in short. Now everything is in your distributors hands.
Key things you need to be prepared for:
- 4 weeks prior to your preferred release date
- A high quality mastered file of your track
- All the relevant meta data on your track
- The artwork for the song
Would I use Songtradr again?
It was an interesting experience for myself, would I use Songtradr again? Hmmmm maybe.
It was easy to use, but it was a cheap means to an end. I have no personal contact there, there’s no number to call, I don’t have any personal connection or feeling that they are willing/wanting to help me with my single, and I think that’s ultimately what you need in a distributor. You want to find somebody that has shown some passion towards your music and wants to represent it. This is why giving a % is a better option because if they don’t get sales for your track, then nobody makes any money or hits!
I will say, there was something I wanted to clarify regarding my artist name on Spotify, to make sure the track was going to the right Isaac Tyler, and I did receive a reply to my email a couple of days later, so their turnaround time was relatively quick, but I wanted to feel more like there was somebody at hand to help me out when I was nervous and stressed for the release.
What would I rate Songtradr?
I’d give Songtradr a solid 7/10 – for what the service is, it does what it needs, and my track was out on time… which is the primary thing right?! But you’re aware they’re a big company, there’s little in the way of artist/distribution relationship, and that can account for a huge amount between artist and distributor – I’d give them a go for the sync opportunities as well, but more on that in another blog.
I have a few more distributors I want to try for my next releases, so expect some more ‘reviews’ of my future experiences.
I don’t regret using Songtradr, but I’m not rushing back.
Where can you hear my release?
Shameless plug – that release in question is OUT NOW!